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The Greenstone Grail
Amanda Hemingway
HarperCollins Voyager / Del Rey, 376 and 360 pages

Amanda Hemingway
Amanda Hemingway has already lived through one lifetime, during which she travelled the world and supported herself through a variety of professions, including those of actress, barmaid, garage hand, laboratory assistant, journalist and model. Her new life is devoted to her writing, but she also finds time to ride, ski and attend the opera.

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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lise Murphy

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The Greenstone Grail
The Greenstone Grail
The Greenstone Grail, the first book in Amanda Hemingway's Sangreal Trilogy, is a story about a family that has a connection to the magical world. The magical world, however, in this story is actually another planet or group of planets where the inhabitants are dying out. Nathan Ward, a young boy of approximately 13 years and his mother Annie are the central characters. The circumstances surrounding Nathan's conception have given him the power to dream himself into other worlds. The grail, in this adaptation of the grail saga, is actually a holy and mythical relic from one of these other worlds. Nathan and his mother, with the help of some friends (from this world and beyond), must uncover the mystery of the grail before someone gets killed.

Having taken a university English course on the history of King Arthur, I am interested in all things Arthurian and the grail legend. This story is quite a twist on the traditional grail legend, but is nonetheless enjoyable. In the beginning, the reader is left to wonder if the story is a children's novel, however about 25 pages in, the author throws in an expletive and it's game on; this is not a children's book. Although I did rather enjoy the references to the protagonists of the more adult children's novels such as Harry Potter and Lyra Belacqua. The author skilfully blends the description and wide-eyed enthusiasm of children's novels and infuses it with sensual focus that makes it definitely an adult book.

Hemingway's characters are vivid, intriguing and flawed. The dialogue flows seamlessly making it a pleasurable read from the very beginning. The story, part detective novel, part science fiction, part fantasy and all fairy tale, is a seamless weaving of narrative that ties characters in this world to those in another. The novel leaves the reader wanting more, but they will be satisfied waiting for the next installment.

Copyright © 2006 Lise Murphy

Lise Murphy has been reading science fiction and fantasy ever since she was little. Aided by Star Wars, her Dad introduced her to the genre. Educated as a virologist, she has worked in rabies research for the federal government. She lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband and beagle Madigan.


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